Thursday, July 5, 2012

DIY Baby Aviator Goggles!

If you follow me on Facebook then you might recall my mentioning a few weeks ago that a friend asked me to do her upcoming newborn photo shoot - and she told me I can steampunk it. Wahoo!

I've since been making and assembling a few essential props and wardrobe accessories, but of course the one thing you've GOT to have for a steampunk photo shoot - baby or no - is a pair of goggles, right?


And since you never want anything scratchy, sharp, or too hard around a baby's face, I decided to make these aviator goggles. They're mostly cloth, except for the lenses, and the fur lining will help pad them against baby's head. (I don't plan on having the newborn wear them over her eyes; they'll just be on her head like a headband, or with the cap.)

The cap came from my aviator teddy bear, which I've had stashed away in my office for years:

I've had this guy since before I was married - I won him out of a claw machine. :D

(And happily the strap of my new goggles helps cover the ear-slits.)

When I first remembered I had this bear I was all excited, thinking I could just use his cap & goggles as-is, but when I got them off I realized the goggles were just a cheap pair of children's swim goggles:

 This will not do.

So I turned to the 'net, and discovered a fabulous template made from a pair of WWI aviator goggles:

(Go here to see the original goggles and more technical drawings.)

I decided to make a pair like this, and fit the swim lenses inside.

(Keep in mind that even though I'm making a baby-sized pair here, you could easily use the same method to make a pair for yourself.)

Using the template as a reference, I sketched out the approximate shape onto a piece of paper, folded it to make sure both sides were symmetrical, and cut it out:

I made my initial paper template too big, so I had to keep trimming it down to get it more baby-sized. (Pro Tip: If it will fit your face, it's too big for a baby.)

When I was satisfied it was small as I could get it and still fit the lenses inside, I traced my pattern onto a piece of vinyl, and cut that out:

Next I traced the swim goggle lenses onto the vinyl to get the placement and size right. This was my first try, and I made the lenses too far apart. I later had to go back and start over with a new piece. (Good thing this only uses a tiny scrap of vinyl!)

To fit the swim goggles into the vinyl, I removed the goggles' strap, clipped off the plastic nose pieces with a pair of pliers, and sanded off the rough bits that were left over:

From there it was just a matter of pushing the lenses through the holes in my vinyl. (Because vinyl stretches, it's better to cut your holes on the smaller side.) To keep the lenses in place, I drew a line of gel super glue around the edge of the hole on the wrong side of the vinyl before pushing each lens through. I had to be quick to get the lens positioned before the glue dried:


Next, I crossed one side tab over the other to give the goggles a bit of a curve:

...and glued it in place. Then I trimmed the tab edges so the corners didn't stick out.

 Here's the front view:

Hey, they're starting to look like goggles!

 Next, these goggles need some straps:

I planned to attach the straps via velcro to the cap, so I made mine short. (I want to be able to interchange them with the cap and a stretchy headband, so they can be worn either way.)

Finally, I cut two narrow strips off the "wool" lining of my teddy bear's leather jacket, and used those to give the goggles a fur lining. I'm sorry I forgot to take a picture, but all it took was folding the small strip of faux wool in half, fur side out, gluing the two sides together (you could sew it, of course, but I'm lazy) and then gluing that fuzzy strip around the inside edge of the goggles. The "wool" is fuzzy enough that the fur will stick out, making it look like the whole interior is lined.

Here's the back side of the finished goggles, so you can see what I mean:

Oh, and one final tip: when working with vinyl it's a good idea to have a matching Sharpie marker on hand to color in all the edges of the fabric, so you don't have a bunch of white edges showing through and spoiling the leather look. I forgot to color in the edges of the lens holes before gluing the lenses in place, so there's a tiny white line showing from the front. Not a huge deal, but if you're a perfectionist like me, you'll want to color that in ahead of time.

My newborn shoot is this weekend, so wish me luck! And in the meantime, since I don't have a baby to model 'em yet, here's Kermit wearing the cap and goggles:

I suspect they'll still be too large for a newborn, but hopefully they're small enough to just look adorably over-sized, and not completely ridiculous.

As always, if you try this yourself, please send me pictures! It's fun to see what you guys come up with, and I love knowing which tutorials inspire you guys to get crafty yourself!

Oh, and while I'm at it, here's another prop for the newborn shoot. John and I made it at the suggestion of several of you on the Epbot FB page - and I think you're gonna liiiike it!

Yep, it's a giant wind-up key - for the baby's back.


I seriously cannot WAIT for this shoot. Cross your fingers for me that I won't completely screw it up, k, guys?


  1. SQUEEE!!!!!! I want to have another baby just so I can make these & have a steampunk photo shoot! LOVE!

  2. So creative and simple! Hmm... thoughts on how to make a baby-sized jet pack or ray gun too?? Thanks for the tutorial and I can't wait to see the pictures. :)

  3. Waaaaaaah! I love it! Googles and a giant wind-up key?! So cute!!

  4. Seriously, THIS I can't wait to see! Good luck Jen! It's gonna be awesome! :)

  5. That is awesome! That baby needs an airship.

  6. You won't screw it up! You're the queen of steampunk inventiveness! I was combing stores today for stuff for my own steampunk getup, and thinking "How would Jen look at this piece of (shiny object)and what would she do to it?" :)

  7. I hope you will share pics! Can't wait!!!

  8. You are my hero! (And I wish we lived close to each other to be real-life friends)

  9. As per Cara's suggestion, couldn't you make a baby jetpack like this with 710 mL bottles? (What's that in American, 20 oz?)
    Anxiously awaiting pics please :D

  10. Gah!!!! Can Not Wait to see this!!! Seriously - how much longer do we have to wait?!?! Yeeee :)

  11. so very cute :)
    I had thought of an idea a few days ago, but I couldn't find the orginal post to comment on - parchment paper labels. Some baby pics include the signs with date or how old the baby is, you could do something like that in fancy script or something more like a technical drawing labeling parts (could be cutsie names or latin-ish terms).
    You'll do great and I can't wait to see the pics!

  12. Are you kidding me with this??!!!!

    I want a steam punk baby and I want it now, Daddy!!

    I want to get married again and have a book/lightsaber bouquet and my husband can wear his fez and bowite!!

    Very very clever.....

    (le sigh)

  13. I am due in October and am going to have to do this! I have 2 boys and I think they are getting a pair too!

  14. How much to fly you out to Dallas for a steampunk newborn shoot in early November? ;-) Can't wait to see how the pics turn out!

  15. Luvin kermit!!!

    Anyone else thought of Snoopy Flying Ace.....

    Looking fwd to the post.

  16. How'd it go?

    ~ Haiku Joy

  17. I seriously never thought to use actual swim goggles for steampunkification. Why? I don't know, but thanks for the idea! :)

  18. Oh! I must try those aviotor goggles in baby, toddler and adult size for the whole family!

  19. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this tutorial! My little one is due in December...we are SO doing a steampunk photo shoot, and these goggles will be perfect! (I won't forget to email you pix, assuming I can do them right. LOL)


Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>